The RRoD Continues to Haunt the Used Console Market

Its kind of impressive just how many 360s failed within the first few years of the console's life. This is a poll from 2008, the same year that the more stable 65nm CPUs were rolled out.

If you’re like me (which is unlikely), you recently thought to yourself: “The Xbox 360 has been out for four and a half years. It’s probably about time I got myself one of those.” Of course if you are like me you also aren’t exactly wallpapering your house with money. So the obvious solution for both of us would be to buy a used console.

Alas, if only life were so simple.

At first glance it appears to be perfectly doable. Ebay always has a few 360s for sale, Kijiji has two or three, and Gamestop/EB Games claims that they can sell you a refurbished 360 for 150 bucks. Unfortunately things are not as they first appear. I spoke to two separate sets of EB Games employees on the 23rd and they all informed me that the vast majority (one said “about 90 percent”) of the used 360s that they sold were returned non-functioning. The owner of a local independent games store told me the same, and said that he paid very little when buying the consoles.

On top of that, the $150 price point is deceptive; it does not include an HDD, which is an additional cost that can range from $40 to $100 depending on your size demands and patience. So assuming that EB Games actually has a used console in stock (my whole region was sold out) you are still looking at dropping at least as much as the cost of an arcade to get a system that might not work.

Ebay could be your friend, but at time of writing there were none selling that looked like they were going to close much cheaper than the cost of a new system. On top of that, you risk getting a busted console that cannot be returned.

Kiji, craigslist, and other classifieds are your only real option for saving money on a 360. This might be more trouble than it’s worth, but as long as you make sure that you see it working before you buy it this is a good option. Options are limited, but at least the console you are buying won’t be dead on arrival. My family bought a 360 this way about a year ago and it still works fine. Just try to make sure that the power supply outputs 150 watts. Consoles that take 150 Watts are from more recent revisions and are far less likely to RRoD.

I wound up buying an Xbox 360 Arcade and a used 60 GB HDD, but doing the math later I found that this isn’t really the cheapest option. It’s 20 dollars less than buying an Elite, but that’s 20 dollars that I’m going to be spending on a headset. There isn’t really a cheapest option; it really depends on what you want. But whatever you do, you are definitely safer sticking with a new console.

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